8 Reasons to Keep Your Live-In Nanny Out of a Spousal Dispute
When someone lives in your home and cares for your children they’re automatically privy to more sensitive information about your marriage than a center-based childcare provider; in some cases, they may be more well-informed about the state of your union than some of your friends and family members. While it can be almost impossible to keep these details completely private from your live-in nanny, there are several reasons why you and your spouse should make every effort to keep her as far removed from the fray as possible.
- Eliminating “Slip of the Tongue” Possibilities – All it takes is one unguarded moment, and the proverbial cat can be let out of the bag regarding your marital strife in front of your children. The less your nanny knows about disputes and difficulties, the less she can accidentally pass on to your children, who may panic at the idea of separation or divorce.
- Keeping Her Neutral – In any conflict it’s human nature to choose sides. Your nanny may not be able to stay neutral if she knows the details of an argument, forming a sympathetic alliance with one partner and silently blaming the other. The tension and discomfort created by all of this animosity can not only affect your nanny’s relationship with both of her employers, but can have the effect of throwing fuel on an already-raging fire, escalating the argument between you and your spouse to an even higher level.
- Avoiding Burn Out – Caring for children and living in one room of a home belonging to someone else are stressful in and of themselves; doing so when a marital war rages under the same roof can turn the situation into a pressure cooker for your nanny, contributing to an early and potentially nasty case of burn out.
- To Keep Her From Leaving – One of the most common reasons for a nanny to abandon an otherwise ideal post is excessive fighting between her employers. Living in the home of two relative strangers who do little but fight isn’t appealing to anyone, especially if divorce is a looming inevitability. Rather than stick around through the arduous process and deal with the fallout, your nanny may opt to take another post altogether.
- Keeping Distractions to a Minimum – Your nanny’s sole purpose in your home and on your payroll is to care for your children. She’s not there to offer marriage counseling, advice, or to hold your hand while you fight with your spouse. Shouldering the burden of adult problems in addition to her responsibilities to your children may be more than she can handle, and can leave her distracted, which is the last state of mind you want for the person responsible for ensuring the safety and happiness of your kids.
- Preventing Gossip – Few people can resist a particularly juicy bit of gossip, and your nanny is no exception. If the idea of her sharing the details of your marital discord with her friends and fellow nannies around the park’s water fountain is upsetting, it’s wise to keep those details to yourself. Even when you know that your nanny could provide information you’re seeking or a fresh perspective on the behavior of your spouse, you should avoid dragging her into the middle of the altercation at all costs.
- Maintaining Professionalism – Giving your nanny instructions or discussing habits and behavior that you don’t agree with is difficult to do when she’s held your hand through a nasty row or been witness to the humiliating things that spouses can say to one another in the heat of battle; in the interest of maintaining your professional relationship it’s essential to keep your personal problems as private as possible.
- Keeping Boundaries in Place – Your nanny wants and needs clearly-drawn boundaries just as much as you do; in some cases, perhaps even more. She wants her off time to be respected as just that, her private space to be held sacred, and not to be thrown into the middle of a family fight.
Whether you’re having an occasional and temporary disagreement with your spouse, or more serious fights that threaten separation or divorce, it’s absolutely imperative that you keep your nanny out of your relationship. Not only for her sake, but for that of your marriage as well; introducing a third party and her opinions to an already volatile situation will almost always make it worse, rather than improving it.